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Headlines for Tuesday, July 3, 2018

UPDATE: One of Two Men Shot Outside Kansas School Has Died; Suspect in Custody

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) —  One of the two contract workers injured in a shooting outside a suburban Kansas City elementary school has died. Overland Park, Kansas, police spokesman John Lacey says the victim died Tuesday afternoon, several hours after he and a co-worker were shot at Sunrise Point Elementary School. The second victim remains in critical condition. The names of the men have not been released. The suspect was arrested at a home where authorities found a sport utility vehicle that was carjacked after the shooting. Formal charges have not been filed. Police Chief Frank Donchez says the home belonged to the owner of the carjacked vehicle. He says it's unclear what led the suspect to go to that home, describing it as "bizarre to say the least." No students were present when the shooting occurred.

(earlier reports)

Suspect in Custody After Two Shot Outside Kansas School

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities arrested a suspect Tuesday in a shooting that critically wounded two contract workers outside an elementary school in suburban Kansas City. The man was taken into custody outside a nearby home where authorities found a sport utility vehicle that was carjacked after the shooting at Sunrise Point Elementary School, according to Jason Rhodes, spokesman for the Overland Park Fire Department in Kansas. Rhodes said that when police started to move in with armored vehicles, the suspect bolted from the back door of the home and was taken down. His name wasn't immediately released. Investigators said the suspect shot two co-workers earlier in the day as they installed artificial turf on a playground at the school. No students were at the school at the time, said Blue Valley School District spokeswoman Becky Miller. The suspect had tried but failed to carjack another vehicle at a carwash before stealing the SUV, a black GMC Denali. Police Chief Francis Donchez said the home where the suspect was arrested belonged to the owner of the SUV. He said it's unclear what led the suspect to go to that home but described it as "bizarre to say the least." Donchez said police never made contact with the suspect while he was inside the home but believed he was there because a dog came out of the house. He said the victims of the shooting were undergoing surgery but remained in critical condition. Their names haven't been released.

Suspect Arrested in Connection with Shooting at Overland Park Elementary School

According to the Kansas City Star, a suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the shooting that took place this (TUE) morning at an elementary school in Overland Park.

Police: 2 Workers Shot, Wounded by Co-Worker at Overland Park Elementary School

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating a shooting that left two employees injured at an Overland Park elementary school.  KMBC-TV reports that police spokesman John Lacy says the shooting happened today (TUE) at Sunrise Point Elementary School in the Blue Valley school district.  No students were hurt.  The Wichita Eagle reports that, according to police, the suspect was a co-worker of the men who were shot and that the shooting happened after an argument.  Police say the shooting suspect fled and a few minutes later attempted to carjack someone at a car wash at 151st Street and Metcalf Avenue.  Shots were fired there, but no one was hit.  A few minutes later, the same suspect stole another vehicle at gunpoint near 148th Street and Metcalf. That victim was not hurt but was shaken.  Residents in the surrounding neighborhood were told to stay in their homes.  This is a developing story.  Check back later for more details.


Kansas Year-End Tax Receipts Exceed Expectations by $318 Million

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas state officials say fiscal year-end tax receipts came in $318 million above projections.  The Kansas Department of Revenue on Monday released a revenue report showing that fiscal year-end tax receipts were $1.2 billion above the previous fiscal year. The overall increase was not surprising since state lawmakers reversed past income tax cuts to deal with persistent budget woes.  But Department of Revenue Secretary Sam Williams says that tax receipts were above expectations for every month during the fiscal year that ended June 30. The agency says receipts were especially strong in June, when receipts were $144 million more than projected.  Williams says the increase indicates a rise in retail spending. He believes federal tax cuts passed late last year helped spur the economic growth.


KBI Investigates Officer Involved Shooting in Lawrence, Suspect Arrested

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KPR) — A suspect has been arrested in connection with an officer involved shooting last (MON) night in Lawrence.  As Kansas Public Radio reports, the suspect has been identified as 58-year-old Tommie John May, of Lawrence. He is being held in the Douglas County Jail.  The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is now the lead agency in charge of investigating the incident.  The city's police department requested the assistance since one of its officers was involved in the shooting. According to the KBI, preliminary information indicates that officers were dispatched to 713 West 25th Street at about 9:30 pm to a reported shooting. Once they arrived at the residence, two gunshot victims were located and taken to area hospitals. Approximately five minutes after the shooting call, a responding officer in the area encountered a green SUV matching the description of the shooting suspect’s vehicle, and attempted to initiate a car stop near 21st and Louisiana Street.  During the incident, the officer exited his vehicle and the suspect struck the police vehicle and the officer with his SUV. The officer fired his weapon multiple times toward the SUV, where it is believed the suspect was injured by gunfire. The suspect then ran from the scene heading south, where additional officers were able to arrest him.  A firearm was recovered near 21st and Louisiana Street where the car stop was attempted.  Both the injured officer and the suspect were transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries and have since been released. 


Kansas Prison Has Broken Windows, Fire Damage

EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — Officials say inmates broke dozens of windows and set fires during a weekend disturbance at a maximum-security prison in south-central Kansas.  Kansas Department of Corrections spokesman Samir Arif said Monday that nobody was hurt. The disturbance started Sunday afternoon in the recreation yard at the prison in El Dorado and lasted about 4 ½ hours. Between 75 and 150 inmates were involved.  State union president Sarah LaFrenz says a corrections officer who witnessed what happened told her around 40 windows were broken. She said two classrooms had fire and smoke damage. The officer also told LaFrenz that inmates took over radio communication devices.  She says the disturbance began after an inmate on the yard who had refused to comply with instructions was restrained and moved.
Arif confirmed there was damage but provided no specifics.


Judge Rejects Massachusetts Man's Run for Kansas Office

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ A federal judge has rejected a request from a Massachusetts man seeking to put his name on the Republican primary ballot for Kansas attorney general.  U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren ruled from the bench Tuesday that political activist Vermin Supreme is not entitled to federal court intervention. A state board had previously ruled Supreme ineligible to run. The Rockport, Massachusetts, man contends in a lawsuit that he should be allowed to run because Kansas has no residency requirement. But Melgren said federal courts have interfered in state elections only in extreme circumstances, noting this case hinges on interpretation of state statutes. A Kansas judge recently ruled residency was a requirement to run for governor. Melgren also cited the potential disruption to the August primary in Kansas. 


Kansas Father Funding Effort to Get Son Elected to Congress

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The father of Republican congressional candidate Steve Watkins set up and funded a political action committee that's running a $64,000 ad campaign for his son. Creating a PAC allows the father to skirt rules that would limit direct contributions to his son's candidacy for the open seat in Kansas's 2nd congressional district. The Kansas City Star reports Watkins is one of seven candidates seeking the GOP nomination. Records filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show that the sole donor to the Kansans Can Do Anything political action committee is Topeka doctor Steven Watkins. The elder Watkins donated $100,000 days after its formation. The PAC began airing television ads last week in support of Watkins candidacy in the primary to replace retiring U.S. Representative Lynn Jenkins.


Independence, Missouri, Man Charged in Abuse that Left Child Brain Dead

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — A 19-year-old suburban Kansas City, Missouri, man is facing charges accusing him of causing injuries that left a 1-year-old boy brain dead.  Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker on Monday announced child abuse charges against Carlos Alaniz of Independence.  The Kansas City Star reports that police were called to Children's Mercy Hospital and learned that the child had a lacerated liver, several broken ribs and bruises, along with signs of previous brain injury. The child is the son of Alaniz's girlfriend.  Police say Alaniz told them he struck the child because the boy would not stop crying, and he didn't like the fact that the boy looked like his biological father.  Alaniz does not yet have a listed attorney.


Wichita Police Investigating 3 Fatal Weekend Shootings

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita police are investigating three fatal shootings that occurred within a couple of hours of each other.  The Wichita Eagle reports that all three shootings occurred between 12:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Saturday. In the first, 24-year-old Anthony Martinez was in a backyard when a cousin's gun discharged, fatally striking Martinez in the abdomen. The cousin was booked on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter.  The other shootings occurred around 2 a.m. Officers found 29-year-old Michael Maxwell dead inside his vehicle. Police believe someone inside an SUV fired the fatal shots in a "targeted shooting." No arrests have been made.  Police were called to an apartment and found 23-year-old Patrick Ball-Morse with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Authorities are searching for the brother of Ball-Morse's girlfriend.


Suspect in Kansas Killing Arrested at Oklahoma Bus Stop

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect in a deadly weekend shooting in Wichita has been arrested at an Oklahoma bus stop.  The Wichita Eagle reports that the 34-year-old was booked Monday into the jail in Noble County, Oklahoma. Authorities are working to extradite him to Kansas, where he is suspected of killing 23-year-old Patrick Ball-Morse early Saturday at an apartment.  Wichita police Officer Paul Cruz says investigators received information that the suspect was on his way to Dallas, and police contacted the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. The man and a woman who was with him were arrested on a Greyhound bus for failure to report to their probation officers. The woman also is accused of bringing drugs into the jail in Oklahoma.


Lawrence Police Officer Fires at Suspect in Double Shooting

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a Lawrence police officer has fired at a suspect in a double shooting after the convicted felon drove a sport utility vehicle into the officer's patrol car. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that police Sgt. Amy Rhoads says officers were dispatched Monday night to the scene of a shooting that left two people with life-threatening injuries. Police say that after the shooting, an officer attempted to stop the SUV that the suspect was driving. But the suspect rammed the officer's patrol car, injuring the officer. The officer then discharged a firearm, although Rhoads didn't say whether the suspect was hit. The suspect was apprehended after fleeing on foot, treated at a hospital and then booked into jail. The suspect previously spent more than two decades in Kansas prisons.


Off-Duty Officer Hurt, Intruder Killed in Gunfire Exchange 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say an off-duty Wichita officer was wounded and a suspected home intruder killed in an exchange of gunfire. KWCH-TV reports that Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says 24-year-old Christian Webb shot the officer in the leg after entering the officer's home through an unlocked door. The officer then returned fire, hitting the Webb several times. Webb died at a hospital. The officer was treated and released. Ramsay says the officer's wife and children were home at the time of the shooting and are shaken up but uninjured. Ramsay says some cars had been broken into near where the shooting happened. Ramsay says there is no connection between the suspect and officer.


3 Lawsuits Accuse Prison Guard of Assaulting Female Inmates

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri prison guard now faces a third lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting female inmates at a prison in the western Missouri town of Chillicothe.  All three lawsuits naming Edward Bearden have been filed over the past five weeks in federal court in Kansas City, including a suit filed Monday. The lawsuits say that the Missouri Department of Corrections knew or should have known about the assaults.  Bearden has not been criminally charged. Mary Compton, a spokeswoman for the Missouri attorney general's office, which represents Bearden, says the lawsuits are under review. A message left with the Department of Corrections was not immediately returned.  The latest lawsuit accuses Bearden of fondling and assaulting an inmate several times starting in October 2015.


Man Accused of Cutting Up Wife Found Competent for Trial

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A man arrested at a suburban Kansas City storage unit with two of his children and his dismembered wife's remains has been found competent to stand trial after undergoing a mental health evaluation.  The ruling was made Monday during a hearing for Justin Rey in Johnson County, Kansas, where he's charged with child endangerment.  He isn't charged in his wife's killing. Rey says she died after giving birth in October in a Kansas City, Missouri, hotel room. Investigators say he then went to the Lenexa, Kansas, storage unit where he was arrested with the newborn and the couple's toddler. He was preparing to catch a train. He's also charged in the death of a California man whose body hasn't been found.  Rey told The Associated Press he didn't kill anyone.


Woman Sentenced for Using Pepper Spray on Kansas Police

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A Mississippi woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for using pepper spray on suburban Kansas City police officers after they caught her shoplifting from a Victoria's Secret store.  The Kansas City Star reports that 40-year-old Latrina Newsome pleaded no contest in May to aggravated battery and battery against a law enforcement officer in Johnson County District Court in Kansas. She was sentenced Friday.  Authorities say she was caught last September shoplifting from the store at a mall in Overland Park. Police say that when officers tried to arrest her, she sprayed them with pepper spray and that she and a person who was with her fought with officers before they were subdued. One officer suffered a broken foot in the fight, and another officer broke a finger.


Former Students Confess to High School Prank After 50 Years

CLAY CENTER, Kan. (AP) — A group of Kansas pranksters are finally coming clean right before the 50-year anniversary of a high school finding a mysterious hole through its roof. The Kansas City Star reports that Richard Klocke and his friends fired a small cannon full of gunpowder near Clay Center Community High School for the Fourth of July in 1968. Authorities reported that mysterious metal scraps had gouged the school roof and caused a water leak, but they never figured out where the scraps came from. The pranksters stayed quiet about the incident until now to avoid getting in trouble. The 65-year-old says he wants to take responsibility because "it's never officially been told as to what happened at that event." Klocke now works as an artist and exhibition designer in Lawrence.


Amtrak Explores Ending Passenger Service from Dodge City

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — Amtrak is considering ending passenger train service from southwest Kansas to central New Mexico and instead implementing a bus connection on the route.  The Hutchinson News reports that Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson revealed to lawmakers last week the train operator is looking into ending Southwest Chief service between Dodge City, Kansas, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. The announcement came after lawmakers asked the company to stand behind agreements it previously made to upgrade and maintain its route through the south-central U.S.  Republican Senator Jerry Moran says he's disappointed in "the lack of commitment on the part of Amtrak to keep its word" on upgrading the Southwest Chief route.  The nearly 2,300-mile passenger train service has run daily between Chicago and Los Angeles since 1974.


Report: Most of Kansas Winter Wheat Now Harvested

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The latest government snapshot shows the Kansas growers have harvested most of their winter wheat crops.  The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that the Kansas wheat harvest was 71 percent complete. That is ahead of the five-year average. About 97 percent of the state's wheat left in the field is now mature.  The agency also says about 15 percent of the corn in Kansas is in poor to very poor shape with 32 percent rated as fair, 47 percent as good and 7 percent as excellent.  Other Kansas crops are also making progress. About 97 percent of the soybeans planted have now emerged and about 20 percent of them are blooming. About 5 percent of the sorghum in the state has now headed.


Lawrence Officials to Consider Marijuana Law Changes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — City leaders in Lawrence say they will consider lowering fines for people caught in possession of marijuana.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the current city law allows for fines of up to $1,000 for first-time offenders. A resident, Laura Green, recently presented a proposal to the Lawrence City Commission that would call for reduced fines and make other changes.  The commission agreed to discuss the issue at an upcoming work session.  Lawrence adopted its marijuana ordinance more than a decade ago. Green says attitudes toward marijuana have shifted in recent years.  Under the current law, first-time offenders face a fine of between $200 and $1,000, and can be jailed for up to 180 days.


Student Who Changed His Failing Grades to A's Gets Probation

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A former University of Kansas student who hacked the school's computer system to changing his failing F grades to As has been sentenced to probation.  The Lawrence Journal-World reports that 20-year-old Varun Sarja used a keystroke logger program to change his grades in the 2016-17 school year when he was a freshman studying engineering.  Keystroke loggers enable hackers to obtain usernames and passwords by recording keystrokes on devices.  Sarja, of Olathe, was placed on academic probation in spring 2017. When records revealed he had achieved an A in math, an academic adviser and the math professor investigated.  Sarja pleaded guilty in May to felony identity theft and unlawful computer acts.  During sentencing Monday, Sarja learned he faces an 18-month prison sentence if he violates the terms of his probation.


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